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Family Literacy Programs
Educational Background and Attitudes toward the Value of Schooling
"The establishment of mutual partnerships between parents and schools can be a complex undertaking even when there is a strong match between the culture of the school and the culture of the community. "
Survival and Family Structure
How will the struggles of day-to-day survival affect the nature of the home-school partnership?
Teachers need to keep in mind the work schedule of some language minority parents who work long hours at extremely low wages for economic survival.
How will differences in family structure affect the relationship?
Teachers do not need to look at the world through cultural lenses that define a nuclear family as the norm may misjudge a family that does not fit the pattern.
Case Studies of Change from the inside out
Bilingual Special Education
Refers to the use of the home language along with English in an individually designed program of instruction provided to students with exceptional educational needs for the purpose of maximizing his or her learning potential.
The number of students from culturally diverse and linguistically diverse (CLD) backgrounds are increasing. It is estimated that over 1 million students in the United States need bilingual special education services. Many students are being identified as requiring special education services because of language limitations . Given the stigmata associated with special education, and the fact that many students continue to be misplaced in special education the referral process continues to be under attack.
Who are these students?
Currently, there are no consistent models from state to state regarding either certification or education of CLDE students. Legislation specific to bilingual special education does not exist. However, linguistically diverse students and students with exceptionalities are both protected by separate legislation.
Has played a major role in advancing the services available LEP students with exceptionalities.
PARC v.Mills v. The Board of Education of the District of Columbia
Lau v. Nicholas
The Dyrcia S. et al v.Board of Education of the City of New York ( 1979)
NCLB mandates the same standards of achievement for all students, including those with exceptionalities, and English language learners in aims to close the achievement gap. However, many argues that NCLB cause more harm to students with exceptionalities and English learners because of the high focus on testing which indicates academic success. Teachers of students with disabilities report that children respond negatively to the long hours of testing.
Response to Intervention (RTI)
English Language Learners
are educational and behavioral strategies that general educators use with students who are having behavioral or learning difficulties in the general classroom.
Reduce the number of special education referrals
Encourage general education teachers to assume responsibility for teaching students experiencing academic and/or behavioral problems rather than transferring that responsibility to special educators.
Identification and Referral
for Special Education Evaluation
Special Education Placement
Understanding Parental Involvement and Advocacy
Do we really want all CLD students out of Special Education?
How do ELLS with Disabilities Benefit from Special Education?
Reciprocal reading comprehension strategy Instruction
is a method of a four steps designed to improved comprehension in students who can decode but experience difficulty comprehending.
School and Community
Culturally & Linguistically Diverse (CLD) students are impulsively identified, referred, and placed in special education programs. . .
of the school - aged population is referred annually for special education services
of these students are tested for disabilities
of those tested are generally found to meet the eligibility criteria for special education
2004 - IDEA requires IEP teams to make certain that poor instruction and English language limitations are ruled out.
model is a multitiered decision-making process authorized by the IDEA as a method of determining if students experiencing academic difficulties have a specific learning disability.
100 % in general education benefit from academic and behavioral instruction.
15% of ELLs will advance to this tier. Will have more intense small instruction.
2% of students fail to respond and enter this tier. This represents children who may have a disability.
Prereferral Checklist (pg. 383)
Qualified for special services in the past
Has scored far below average on standardized tests
Indicates good progress in some areas and poor progress in others
Has physical or medical problems
Document strategies used in the general education classroom.
Note those that have been successful and unsuccessful
Referral for Special Education
evaluation is a written statement, submitted by any individual to the school's multidisciplinary team request an evaluation to determine if a student meets the criteria for a federally recognized special education such as: learning disability, emotional, or behavioral disorder.
Referral occurs ONLY after
resources and recommendations available to the teacher are exhausted
A statement by the teacher documenting the interventions implemented to help the child succeed, but acknowledging that she/he has not met or improved the outcomes for a specific student.
Special education assessment:
Identifies the student's strengths and weaknesses,
Determines which federally recognized disability best captures the student's disability or disabilities
Informs about the educational program that will be needed to maximize the student's learning potential
Best assessment practices includes:
Formal testing using standardized/non standardized measures
Interviews, and observations
CLD students: Curriculum-based assessments
Special education policy requires schools to involve parents of students with disabilities as equal partners in all steps of the decision-making process.
Parents with an English L2 find themselves "disenfranchised" and "voiceless"
Ensure their opinions are valued and cultural customs respected
Tell parents that while teachers might have expertise in education, the mother has information the teacher lacks by fact that she interacts with her child at home , extended periods, and under different circumstances. - Affirms the expertise of the parent.
Helping Parent Advocate (pf. 390)
Neutralize the meeting place
Gibe them a meaningful task relate to their child's education
Acknowledge a parenting strength
Give parents a real opportunity to prioritize their chile's goals
Let them initiate contact with you
Monitor parental progress the same way you would manage their child's progress - with encouragement and patience.
Educators view the decrease of students in programs for students with disabilities as an improvement because they think fewer ELLs are being misplaced in special education programs. However, A large number of students with disabilities are left to linger without special education services in general education classrooms because they do not speak English.
Placement in special education is not justified for a student without a disability, leaving a student with a legitimate disability in general education is a violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.
Efforts to reduce the number of CLD students in special education have now discouraged educators from referring students to special education. - The referral is postponed until the student learns English.
Educators need to focus on reducing students inappropriately placed, but also guard against withholding.
1988 - 16% of bilingual evaluations for special education qualification were carried out within the period required by law.
Legislation for Parent Participation
The concept of structured requirements for parent involvement began through programs such as Title 1 and Head Start.
Continued to expand under the 1994 bilingual Education Act which acknowledge that "parent participation in programs contributes to program effectiveness".
However, a lot of the time Parent Advisory Councils seem to have fallen through because the "Community Advisory Committees were not deeply involved in governance".
The (BPAC) Bilingual Parent Advisory Council, demonstrates the importance of a strong advocate for parental empowerment within the school's staff.
Issues in the Development of Partnerships
Keep in Mind
1) The ability to adequately address these questions requires that school personnel maintain an ongoing portrait of their community;
2) We are all seeing these questions through our personal sociocultural lenses or through the sociocultural lenses of our institution, the school system.
How does language affect communication between the home and the school?
Communication with parents should be in a language they can understand.
School personnel should translate newsletters, forts, etc. and teachers could take in-service classes on different cultures.
How can educators bridge the gap between educators' jargon and everyday language?
The teacher needs to make sure that he/she isn't using terms that are unfamiliar to the listener, because then it will be bard for meaningful communication to occur.
To what degree do school expectations match the educational background of parents?
The teacher should make an effort to learn more about the education system in the country of immigrant parents to help make the educational experience meaningful to the parents.
Some parents feel negatively toward school because they had unpleasant experiences in school. Illiteracy or a history of school failure can make parents have little trust in their own abilities to help their children's education or it can make them mistrust their child's school.
Knowledge and Beliefs about Education
How much knowledge do parents have about school culture and the role of parents in schools in the United States?
Most of the school systems that immigrant parents come from are going to be extremely different from the systems their children are now enrolled in. Parents need opportunities to learn and ask questions about higher education so they can plan a clearer direction for their children.
How much do parents know about specific methods being used in their child's class?
Language minority parents are most likely not going to be familiar with the types of learning activities that teachers provide their children with.
Power and Status
How will the inherit inequality of the educator/layperson relationship affect the quality of the partnership?
Minority parents may feel uneasy about being in an unfamiliar territory, and schools often feel unfamiliar to language minority parents so it is important to make sure that there is not a feeling of inequality between teacher and parent.
Project FLAME (Family Literacy: Aprendiendo, Mejorando, Educando)
- in Chicago, helps limited-English-speaking Hispanic parents develop their own literacy in order to increase the academic achievement of their children.
The Lao Family English Literacy Project
- in Minnesota, Serves immigrant Hmong and Vietnamese families (and extended families) by focusing on cultural preservation, achievement of economic self-sufficiency, and achievement for children.
The Families Together Project
- in San Francisco, is open to the community at large, and offers ESL, parenting classes, legal services, and assistance with other social services.
The Trinity-Arlington Teacher-Parent Training for School Success Program
- in Virginia, provides services in multiple langaues that help participants develop Vocationally Oriented Bilingual Curriculum that parents and students can use at home to learn about procedures and resources for career planning.
The Community Organization at Ochoa Elementary School
- in Arizona, Parents and teachers work togehter to solutions to local problems, and together find changes in their community structure.
The Hollibrook Elementary School in Houston-
has a Parent Center where parents can hold meetings, school works with neighborhood apt. building managers to develop an awareness of the whole child and to coordinate services.
The Mississippi Choctaw Bilingual Program
- this program grew out of the community's awareness of a need to develop their children's bilingual skills.
The children were only able to use Choctaw in informal situations with family and friends. However, most parents preferred using both English and Choctaw in the school sop the community received a Title VII grant.
Parents participated int he decision making for the program.
As resource persons, community members demonstrated crafts, music, and dance, etc.
As learners, parents participated in a variety of activities . For example, enrolled in iteracy program and learned the school orthography for Choctaw.
Although this program no longer receives Title VII support, and program design has changed over years, the tribal funding hlep the Choctaw schools con to thrive.
Parents conduct their activities out of th school central office.
20%of parents volunteer in classrooms everyday, and every type of committee work (textbook, adoption, grant money allocations.)
The Rough Rock English-
Navajo Language Arts Program
Initiated in 1980s in an effort to strengthen what had previously been a very instructed bilingual education program at k-3rd grade level.
Over 10 years the programs have "changed the relationship of indigenous educators to the larger school power structure"
The RRENLAP has come to involve "community educators teaching according to community norms, utilizing local cultural and linguistic knowledge".
El Comite de Padres Latinos (COPLA)
Parents organized this grouped as a way to provide support for one another in their interactions with the school
The first step to creating this was developing an awareness among parents and their rights and their needs to learn more about how the school system worked. With this, parents began to mobilize
Some results of this program include; less social isolation among parents, academic gains for Latino children, improved communication between the home and school, etc.
In addition , advocates for Culturally diverse and Linguistically diverse (CLD) students have strong feelings towards special education services based on misplacement, labeling, and poorly educated students who were incorrectly identified and placed in special education.
Education for All Handicapped Children Act
In 1975, a federal law was introduced that required extensive changes in the referral , testing and placement for special education services. It also included the use of non biased assessment with language minority students when determining eligibility.
Bilingual Education Act
Rehabilitation Act 0f 1973
1. Identification of children needing special education services with the inclusion of an outreach office with adequate bilingual resources.
2. Appropriate evaluation through the establishment of school-based support teams to evaluate children in their own environment with a bilingual nondiscriminatory evaluation process.
3. Appropriate programs in the least restrictive environment, including a comprehensive continuum of services with the provisions of appropriate bilingual programs at each level of the continuum for children with limited English proficiency.
4. Due process and parental student rights, including a Spanish version of a parents' rights booklet, which explains all of the due process rights. Also included is the hiring of neighborhood workers to facilitate parental involvement in the evaluation and development of the individualized education program.
Requires schools to identify and evaluate children who might have a exceptionality. If one does exist, specialized services will be administered based on the characteristic of the child.
School agencies must oblige by the following
A. use assessment tools and strategies to
gather relevant and developmental information
. This includes information provided by the parent
use one single procedure to determine whether a child has an exceptionality or as an appropriate educational program for the child.
C. Use sound Instruments that may assess the contribution of cognitive behavioral factors, physical or developmental factors.
Other evaluations school agencies need to ensure
A. Test and other evaluations used to asses a child.
B. Guidelines for administrating standardized test
C. The child has to be assessed in all areas suspected of having an exceptionality.
D. Any assessment tools and strategies that provide information that can directly assist determining the educational needs of the child provided.
English Language Learners in Special Education
CLD students are at risk for school problems for reasons that are beyond the teacher's control. The majority of the time these students will be educated by professionals who have a limited understanding of the students' culture or language which increases the like hood of misunderstanding behavior from these students. This puts ELLs at a high risk for experiencing academic difficulties. It is important that we remember that we do not select our students and individuals' will vary , so remember to make learning appropriate and individualized.
Bilingual Special Education
Benefits of School-Community Partnership
A partnership between a school and its surrounding community can provide a
for effective bilingual and ESL programs
Strong parental involvement
has been proven to have positive effects on
, particularly in language minority populations
What is a Bilingual Community?
is a term that describes the complex coalition of families, bilingual/ESL educators, university researchers, neighbors, community organizations, and businesses that are connected in some way with local schools.
"community of leaders"
"community of learners"
By understanding this broader view of the community, educators and administrators can develop the best programs possible for language minority students.
Examples of Well-Established Community Partnerships
Community Programs in
An 87% Hispanic school district located on the Mexican border
McAllen Parent Involvement Program was established in 1993 and involved many projects (Page 399):
Adopt-A-School community program
Parent/student community evening study centers
Dropout prevention program
Community Programs in
Arlington County, VA
School district serving a highly diverse range of language minority students through projects like (Page 400):
Multilingual community intake centers for newcomers
Parent orientations and translated handbooks
Annual multicultural conferences for parents to celebrate diversity within the community
Understanding the Historical Context of Language Minority Communities
described 4 historical stages of
in the status of ethnic communities in the United States (in the past 200 years):
the melting pot phase
has always played an important role behind the headlines in bilingual education
A variety of historically stigmatized ethnic communities have used the
as an instrument for social reform in ESL/Bilingual education
Community organization efforts
for negotiation with school districts is another approach of community activism used
What is the role of language minority communities in the development of bilingual education?
Court Cases as Reflections of Community Activism
Tobeluk v. Lind
Lau v. Nichols
Plyler v. Doe
Castaneda v. Pickard
Keyes v. School District No. 1
Teresa P. v. Berkeley Unified School District
Community-Initiated Bilingual Programs in the 1970s
All of these cases reflect the effort of a community to establish a climate of
Developing a Portrait of the Community
Without a proper understanding of the community, and its prevailing social, cultural, and attitudinal conditions,
school-initiated parent involvement programs may have unintended results.
pedagogical innovations and parent partnerships may not thrive without this basic understanding
To provide a framework for the numerous themes educators must consider when developing a portrait or profile of a particular community,
it is important to focus on the main topics of:
within the community
of the community
in the community
the use of
funds of knowledge
Characteristics of Ethnicity within the Community
Socioeconomic Structure of the Community
Language Use in the Community
Funds of Knowledge and Community-Based Research
Teachers can make themselves more included members of the school's community by making efforts to get to know the local community on its own terms, primarily the types of minority language groups and ethnicity of the students in their classrooms
it is important to consider if students are of immigrant minority status, or indigenous minority status
immigrant minority communities
are ethnic communities composed primarily of foreign-born parents
indigenous minority communities
represent American Indians, Puerto Ricans, Mexican Americans and other language minorities who have been here for more than one or two generations
Language minority families, despite the stereotypes of low-income levels, come from a very broad range of socioeconomic backgrounds. By considering these issues, educators become aware of another important dimension of community life.
Page 414 provides a detailed list of questions to consider when coming to the understanding the ethnic composition of a community
Page 419 provides a detailed list of questions to consider when coming to the understanding the socioeconomic composition of a community
To better fully understand the significance of the languages that teachers and children use in schools, it is important to understand language use in the community.
is a term that refers to a situation in which two languages are both used within the same community, but within separate circumstances or groups
Example: Choctaw Indians in the 1970s spoke Choctaw to friends and families in informal settings, but switched to English when conversing with elders, or in more formal situations
Page 420 provides a detailed list of questions to consider when coming to the understanding the linguistic composition of a community
It is important to remember that schools don't come equipped with full-time ethnographers and sociolinguists, however, there are many ways bilingual and ESL educators can begin to identify and use community resources
Funds of knowledge
refers to the essential cultural practices and bodies of knowledge and information that households use to survive, get ahead, or thrive
Teachers use the
funds of knowledge approach
to collect this wealth of data to develop language-rich, intellectually challenging learning environments for culturally diverse students
NOTE: Even with training in cross-cultural communication, however, blunders and misunderstandings may still occur